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kbadeau
Community Member

I thought asking for free samples was against Upwork TOS

But then I did a google search today, and found this:

 

"While the suspicious activities listed above are clear-cut cases of times when you should contact us, other situations may require you to make a judgment call. Be cautious of clients who ask you to:

  • Take a test that looks like work for free
  • Create custom samples of your work for free

In these situations, ask yourself, "If the client asked every candidate to submit this kind of test, would there be any point in hiring someone?" If the answer is no, please report the client by flagging the post as inappropriate or contacting Customer Support by clicking here.

If the test seems appropriate but is going to take a significant amount of time, ask the client to hire you for a small trial contract, known as a test drive, instead."

 

Be cautious? I received an invitation, as did 150+ other freelancers, with specific instructions to create a label for a certain product. "If I see a test design with your message or cover letter, I'm HIGHLY LIKELY to consider you as a strong candidate (and probably pick you!)"

 

I thought that was a clear violation of the TOS... asking for free work. Am I mistaken?

ACCEPTED SOLUTION

Asking for free samples/test work etc has only been forbidden for the last few years.

It is possible that the quoted part of the article stems from before then. It looks (from the source code) like the article, whilst last updated May this year, is from 2015. And I recognize some of the verbiage from oDesk days so parts of it are clearly just copied and pasted from years ago.

 

Upwork recruiters themselves, to this day, ask applicants to do free tests for managed (Enterprise) clients so there is a degree of hypocrisy at play...

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14 REPLIES 14
colettelewis
Community Member


Kelly B wrote:

But then I did a google search today, and found this:

 

"While the suspicious activities listed above are clear-cut cases of times when you should contact us, other situations may require you to make a judgment call. Be cautious of clients who ask you to:

  • Take a test that looks like work for free
  • Create custom samples of your work for free

In these situations, ask yourself, "If the client asked every candidate to submit this kind of test, would there be any point in hiring someone?" If the answer is no, please report the client by flagging the post as inappropriate or contacting Customer Support by clicking here.

If the test seems appropriate but is going to take a significant amount of time, ask the client to hire you for a small trial contract, known as a test drive, instead."

 

Be cautious? I received an invitation, as did 150+ other freelancers, with specific instructions to create a label for a certain product. "If I see a test design with your message or cover letter, I'm HIGHLY LIKELY to consider you as a strong candidate (and probably pick you!)"

 

I thought that was a clear violation of the TOS... asking for free work. Am I mistaken?


______________________

It is against Upwork's ToS and you should report the client. 

 

Think about it. The client is getting something like 100 (given that not all freelancers will respond to the "invitation") samples from which he can take his pick and use (illegally, because he has not taken copyright into account).

 

You have answered your own question - report and move on. 

 


Nichola L wrote:

Kelly B wrote:

But then I did a google search today, and found this:

 

"While the suspicious activities listed above are clear-cut cases of times when you should contact us, other situations may require you to make a judgment call. Be cautious of clients who ask you to:

  • Take a test that looks like work for free
  • Create custom samples of your work for free

In these situations, ask yourself, "If the client asked every candidate to submit this kind of test, would there be any point in hiring someone?" If the answer is no, please report the client by flagging the post as inappropriate or contacting Customer Support by clicking here.

If the test seems appropriate but is going to take a significant amount of time, ask the client to hire you for a small trial contract, known as a test drive, instead."

 

Be cautious? I received an invitation, as did 150+ other freelancers, with specific instructions to create a label for a certain product. "If I see a test design with your message or cover letter, I'm HIGHLY LIKELY to consider you as a strong candidate (and probably pick you!)"

 

I thought that was a clear violation of the TOS... asking for free work. Am I mistaken?


______________________

It is against Upwork's ToS and you should report the client. 

 

Think about it. The client is getting something like 100 (given that not all freelancers will respond to the "invitation") samples from which he can take his pick and use (illegally, because he has not taken copyright into account).

 

You have answered your own question - report and move on. 

 


But that quote above about a "test drive"... that is from the Upwork Support Page. As if to say it's okay for a client to ask for a free sample, but we as freelancers shouldn't actually *give* them a free sample; we should respond and ask to provide a paid sample.

 

It's confusing. Like it's not actually a violation of the TOS unless I am stupid enough to provide the free sample instead of asking for payment for it.

kbadeau
Community Member

Also how long does it take them to remove a post if it's a violation? I don't want to respond to the invitation but I also don't like to let invitations sit in my inbox without responding.

Well, you can reply that you are not interested, for whatever reason you prefer and mark it.
All done ๐Ÿ™‚


Maria T wrote:

Well, you can reply that you are not interested, for whatever reason you prefer and mark it.
All done ๐Ÿ™‚


I will do that later today, but I was curious about the response time because I hate to think that 80+ other designers are getting scammed in the meantime.

Well, hopefully, among so many there are some with a clear head and have already marked it.


Kelly B wrote:

Maria T wrote:

Well, you can reply that you are not interested, for whatever reason you prefer and mark it.
All done ๐Ÿ™‚


I will do that later today, but I was curious about the response time because I hate to think that 80+ other designers are getting scammed in the meantime.


_____________________

 

Kelly, 

 

I have already said - report the client. One does have to respond to invitations and when I receive this sort of invitation I decline it and report it. I do not engage. I do not accept the invitation and I am not obliged to accept it. You have no responsibility toward the other 80 freelancers. They will either refuse the invitation or accept it. It is to be hoped that Upwork will react and delist the job proposal so that none of the other freelancers suffer because of it. 

m_terrazas
Community Member

Hi Kelly,
If I had received that invitation, I would have marked it quickly.
But it's just my opinion.

 

Nichola has gone ahead ๐Ÿ™‚

Kelly, you quoted from this support article:

https://support.upwork.com/hc/en-us/articles/211063118-Report-Suspicious-User-Activity

 

However, Upwork TOS prohibits this use of the site:

  • Requesting or demanding free services, including requesting Freelancers to submit work as part of the proposal process for very little or no money or posting contests in which Freelancers submit work with no or very little pay, and only the winning submission is paid the full amount;

source: https://www.upwork.com/legal#examplesof

 

Not being a lawyer, I can't tell you which takes precedence. But I'd report it anyway, and let Upwork sort it out.

__________________________________________________
"No good deed goes unpunished." -- Clare Boothe Luce

No matter how many places you find stating that there are exceptions to this rule, or stating that there are ways to ask for or provide free work...

 

You don't make any money from doing work for free.

It's a bad business decision. Bad economics.

 

The one exception that makes some sense is when there are LEGITIMATE big clients who have substantial REAL contracts they are hiring for, and sometimes there are small tests involved. But that's really a rare exception.


Most of the time, when a client asks you to do any free work, they're just trying to get free work from people. They are not gong to pay money to anybody.


John K wrote:

Kelly, you quoted from this support article:

https://support.upwork.com/hc/en-us/articles/211063118-Report-Suspicious-User-Activity

 

However, Upwork TOS prohibits this use of the site:

  • Requesting or demanding free services, including requesting Freelancers to submit work as part of the proposal process for very little or no money or posting contests in which Freelancers submit work with no or very little pay, and only the winning submission is paid the full amount;

source: https://www.upwork.com/legal#examplesof

 

Not being a lawyer, I can't tell you which takes precedence. But I'd report it anyway, and let Upwork sort it out.


My interpretation (which may or may not be correct) is that Upwork is making a distinction between "test work" and true tests. For example, it would be asking for free work to ask a writer to write a free test post, but not to ask a writer to take a 10-minute grammar assessment that was purely for qualification purposes and produced no usable work.

Asking for free samples/test work etc has only been forbidden for the last few years.

It is possible that the quoted part of the article stems from before then. It looks (from the source code) like the article, whilst last updated May this year, is from 2015. And I recognize some of the verbiage from oDesk days so parts of it are clearly just copied and pasted from years ago.

 

Upwork recruiters themselves, to this day, ask applicants to do free tests for managed (Enterprise) clients so there is a degree of hypocrisy at play...

kbadeau
Community Member

Thanks y'all. Job is still up this morning with 39 interviewees. I did report the job yesterday and I declined the interview and will just move on but this dude has spent $7k+ on Upwork so maybe they don't care if he asks for free work.

petra_r
Community Member


Kelly B wrote:

Thanks y'all. Job is still up this morning with 39 interviewees. I did report the job yesterday and I declined the interview and will just move on but this dude has spent $7k+ on Upwork so maybe they don't care if he asks for free work.


Let the 39 people being interviewed work it out themselves, not your problem.

 

We are all grown-ups here (allegedly ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

 

$ 7k is chickenfeed by the way.

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